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    Archaeologists know that from the end of the First Century to the end of the Fourth Century,
    early Christians buried their dead in underground tombs excavated in the soft rock that underlies Rome.

    These ancient cemeteries were first uncovered in 1578. Many estimates have concluded that some eight million bodies were buried between 72 and 410 CE.

    There are emblems and inscriptions on these tombs are curious.…
    The principal image--scratched on slabs, carved on utensils and rings, and seen almost everywhere is the Good Shepherd.

    But what is striking is that Jesus is depicted as a young shepherd with a goat on his shoulder--which teaches us that even the wicked were at that early date regarded as objects of the Savior’s love and care after this life.

    History informs me that sadly, the early Jesus people slowly began to lose this great hope and joy over time and eventually traded these joyous symbols for crosses and lamentations about suffering, pain and anguish regarding both life and death.

    Personally, though, I’m inspired to embrace these hopeful images of Christ as Good Shepherd who cradles the goats in his arms.

    I love the idea of emphasizing the great hope we have in Christ rather than glorify suffering and pain.

    We have a lot to learn from those early Christians, I think.

    Elsewhere I have read that there has been no image, sculpture or mosaic found that depicts Jesus hanging on a cross until well after the Fifth Censtury CE.
    Last edited by aikido7; February 13, 2019, 05:33 PM.